I’ve always known that marriage would involve self-sacrifice; putting the other person’s needs ahead of yours. So when I got married last year, I was fully prepared to make some sacrifices.

I think change can be more difficult if you get married when you’re older like I am. But, I swallowed my pride and dove in headfirst. Here are the things that my wife Janette had me do after we got married.


1. Update Our Furniture

My wife described my decor as “man-cave”. A lot of my pieces were hand-me-downs from my parents and stuff I got for free somehow.

I had no problem getting rid of my two coffee tables. One was a black square Ikea LACK table, the kind everyone owned at one point, which I got for free. The other I also got for free from a neighbor who was moving.

Before: my old decor

But, it was difficult for me to part with my expensive puffy leather couch. Sure, it was over-sized for the space, but it was real leather, in great condition, and comfortable; I mean, you really sank into the thing.

Now we have almost all new living room furniture. We’ve made other improvements like painting the fireplace, adding a glass fireplace door, putting up floating wall shelves, and getting a new coffee table made by a local craftsman. It’s all great of course, and I don’t miss my old furniture!

New shelves and furniture in my condo
After: our new decor

2. Go to the Gym

I’ve never been a “gym guy”. I’ve always thought of the idea of a lanky guy like me lifting weights as hilarious for some reason.

Photo of the gym by Danielle Cerullo on Unsplash
The dreaded gym

But, Janette really enjoyed the classes at the gym and wanted me to join, so I did.

Strength-wise, I’m probably now in the best shape of my life! Plus, maybe we’ll avoid the usual weight-gain that often happens to couples after marriage. I do believe that getting married is not an excuse to let your body go downhill.

Plus, after going to the gym for a while, I now actually enjoy it.


3. Get a Dog

Getting a dog was the one non-negotiable thing with Janette. She made it clear that if we got married, we needed to get one.

When I was a kid, our family had a dog which was not a good fit for our family. It was too big, too hyper, shed a lot, ate the plants, and needed more exercise than anyone was willing to give it. We still feel guilty about it to this day.

So, I definitely wasn’t a “dog person” and not really looking forward to getting one. But I reluctantly agreed to get a dog after we got married.

Now, I am a dog person.

Our dog, Coco, will literally stop traffic with her cuteness when I walk her. She is a poodle so she doesn’t shed. She loves running in the grass and laying out in the sun. She is smart and eager to please. She doesn’t chew on our plants or anything else but her toys.

Our miniature poodle Coco
Our miniature poodle Coco

Now I’m doing ludicrous things (which I used to make fun of) with our dog, like dressing her in sweaters and carrying her in a backpack.

Dog backpack
Me riding with Coco in a backpack

Coco brings a smile to anyone she meets. She has brought real joy to us and my Mom, who lives alone now after my Dad passed away, and who happily watches Coco for us when we are out.

4. Take Longer Vacations

With only a few exceptions, I’ve always taken short vacations; more like long weekends. Furthermore, I’d never taken a vacation outside of North America.

Janette enjoys taking long vacations to far-away places. A two-week vacation is short for her. This year we went on a two-week vacation to New Zealand.

Janette and I on a group hike to Sealy Tarns in Aoraki Mount Cook National Park in the southern island of New Zealand

I was worried that I’d miss too much work and my clients would be upset, but the world didn’t end, and everything was fine.

Needless to say, we had a great time!

5. Improve My Posture

I’ve known about my terrible posture for most of my life but was too lazy to do anything about it. My parents told me about it, but I’d only listen if someone I was dating mentioned it. Now that I’m married, I had to fix it, especially after I got this message from Janette:

Bad and good posture
Subtle note my wife sent me to improve my posture

We actually got a big laugh out of it. It’s probably something I should have worked on a long time ago.

6. Eat Better

I had always thought of meals as an annoying but necessary interruption to whatever else I happened to be doing at the time.

To Janette, eating is one of the great pleasures in life!

After we got married, Janette was horrified at the expired food in my pantry. I maintained that it was no big deal until she opened a bag of rice and found tiny bugs in it. ‘Nuff said!!!!

All of the food that Janette makes uses fresh ingredients, and when possible, organic ingredients.

The Santa Monica Farmer's Market on Main
The Santa Monica Farmer’s Market on Main

Plus, Janette is a foodie and likes going to some of the best restaurants in town. It can be expensive, but hey, the food is fantastic.

The salmon course of the tasting menu at Spago
The salmon course of the tasting menu at Spago

I’m still not as obsessed with good food as Janette is, but I definitely appreciate and enjoy it!

7. Not Wear Shoes in the House

Before I got married, I wouldn’t wear shoes on carpet, but I was pretty laid back about wearing shoes on my wood floors.

I leave my shoes at the door now

Now that I have a dog, I have a clear understanding of exactly how disgusting a typical residential sidewalk is. I’m now fully on board with no shoes in the house!


Conclusion

So, all of these “sacrifices” I made after getting married have actually made my life better.

Sometimes, the people who care about you actually have some good insights into your life that you are missing. It may be hard to swallow at first, but their good advice can really improve your life. I’m fortunate to have found someone who definitely has improved mine!

But, you don’t have to marry someone to get good advice. You might have to humble yourself a bit, but if you take a moment to ask a good friend or family member for things they notice that could improve your life, it just might be worth it! – Brian

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